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Confederate Command During The Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862

Length: 68 pages2 hours


This study investigates the decisive factors that affected the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson campaign in February 1862. The thesis is relevant not only to the study of history, but as a series of lessons for all commanders.
In the final analysis, the ultimate failure of the Confederates during this campaign can be attributed directly to the actions of General Albert Sidney Johnston. He failed to develop an adequate strategy to meet the expected invasion from the North or to insure that each subordinate command in his department was prepared for the onslaught. Johnston also failed to establish a command structure to support his Department. Most damaging of all, Johnston neglected the defenses of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, which served as invasion routes through the center of his department.
Ironically, one of the worst generals of the Confederacy correctly saw Fort Donelson as the key to stopping Grant and protecting Nashville. Had he been better supported by his superiors and by the officers serving at the fort with him, the Confederates may have won a victory at Fort Donelson and secured the Western Department for several months.

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